Laicie Olson and I have put together an analysis of the Senate Armed Services Committee version of the Defense Authorization Bill. Head over to the mothership for the main course.
In the meantime, here’s an appetizer:
The House version of the defense bill (H.R. 1540) includes many objectionable limitations on nuclear and missile defense policy matters that would 1) constrain the Pentagon’s ability to implement the New START treaty and 2) undercut the Constitutional authority of the President and senior military leaders to determine U.S. nuclear force structure and engage in discussions with the Russians on missile defense cooperation. See our full analysis of H.R. 1540 here.
The Senate bill contains a number of reporting requirements on nuclear policy issues, but it does not impose policy or funding limitations. The Committee significantly watered down the bad House provisions without compromising Congress’ important oversight responsibilities over U.S. nuclear policy.
It remains to be seen when the full Senate will take up the bill. Could happen this month, I’m told. To date the Senate has declined to do much of anything until the debt ceiling impasses is resolved.